U.S. Army Officer Named as New Commander for Afghanistan

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Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel on Tuesday nominated an army officer who commanded troops in volatile eastern Afghanistan to take over command of the U.S.-led force in the country.

General John Campbell was named to succeed General Joe Dunford as head of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which is now in the midst of a major withdrawal, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The international force will withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of the year, with a small contingent of 9,800 U.S. troops and a few thousand soldiers from NATO allies due to remain on the ground in 2015.

Campbell previously led troops in the 101st Airborne Division in eastern Afghanistan in 2010-2011, when U.S. forces were engaged in heavy fighting with Afghan insurgents.

Hagel also nominated Admiral Bill Gortney to be the next chief of Northern Command,  which oversees troops in the United States, and named Lieutenant General Joseph Votel, currently head of Joint Special Operations Command, to take over as the next commander of U.S. Special Operations Command.

The nominations must still be confirmed by the Senate.

Dunford, the outgoing commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, has has been named as the next commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Dunford currently commands about 32,800 American troops and 17,700 allied soldiers deployed in the country.

The United States, which led an invasion in 2001 to topple the Taliban regime after the 9/11 attacks, plans to withdraw all U.S. forces by the end of 2016.

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